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(Ruta graveolens)

Rue has been used historically as tea to induce miscarriage by thousands of women all over the world from the Mediterranean, and Europe to Latin America and North America. Rue is a traditional abortifacient used by the Hispanic people in New Mexico.15 Rue contains two chemicals that we know have the ability to cause abortion during early pregnancy. One of the chemical substances is called philocarpine, which is used in veterinary medicine as an abortifacient for horses,16 the other is called Rutin, a bioflavinoid that hardens bones and teeth, strengthening arteries and veins. Rutin can be used to disrupt pregnancy and as an emergency contraceptive, it works by stimulating adrenaline, which is the hormonal response to dangerous situations.... "Fight or Flight". Rutin prolongs adrenaline's action in the body and decreases capillary permeability in the uterine tissues, which causes the endometrium to become non-nutritive to the fertilized egg.

Cautions: Rue is a very strong herb, stimulating the uterus and nervous system. Rue/Rutin should not be used in excess, it can cause kidney irritation and liver degeneration. And is not something to be used on a regular basis. People who have heart, kidney or liver problems should not use Rue. The essential oil is highly toxic and should never be used internally. When using Rutin read the label. A potential side effect of using rutin capsules for purposes of emergency contraception or abortion may make one feel anxious or fearful due to its effect of keeping adrenaline in the bloodstream.

One source mentioned rue should not be taken just before eating because it has a tendency to cause vomiting, although I have not encountered this warning anywhere else, and some sources say the leaves have historically been included in salads to reduce fertility. I tried rue once and didn't experience any urge to vomit, so I wouldn't worry about this one too much, but it is a possibility.

The Chinese are investigating one of Rue's relatives. It has been shown in studies to be 100% successful in preventing pregnancy in female rats when used the day after sex. Sounds promising.....

Dosages: Tea, 1-3 tsp. per cup, 3-4 times daily. Boil the water first then pour the boiled water over the dried herb. Do not boil the herb in water, as this destroys the herbs properties.
For a tincture, 5-15 drops 3-4 times a day.
Capsules, 1-4 size #0 capsules 3-4 times a day.4

For using Rutin as an emergency contraception Susun writes "Rutin - Occurring naturally in association with Vitamin c in many plant leaves, most notably Rue, buckwheat, and Elder, rutin can be used to prevent pregnancy. Take it as a tablet in doses of at least 500 mg daily for several days preceding and following ovulation, or take it after fertilizing intercourse and continue until the menstrual flow begins."3 For more info on Rutin as an Emergency Contraceptive.

Contradictions: individuals who have poor kidney functions should not use rue. When using rue, avoid long exposure to sunlight. May be irritating to the gastrointestinal tract.

To order your herbs online:

Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony company. Since 1987

Online herb shops

If you or anyone you know has attempted herbal abortion, I am currently collecting data for a herbal abortion database, I have created a questionnaire to assist me in collecting data, and any and all herbal abortion or emergency contraceptive experiences are welcome, pregnancies confirmed with a pregnancy test are most useful, but as stated, all experiences are welcome, even if pregnancy was not confirmed or menstruation was simply late. I have posted some of the database findings on the website. You can read about other women's experiences in the Sharing our Wisdom section, all of these women have helped to add to our body of knowledge.

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This page created in 1998, last updated June 23, 2001
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